Symbolism has long been a tool employed by authors and directors to fill in the gaps of a story where an explanation would prove unnecessarily wordy or would jeopardize the message's importance. That which is not said, often, is just as important as what actually is. Modern cinema benefits greatly from the technique, and without it, books would become largely devoid either of meaning or of importance. In a medium as sophisticated as anime, it seems only natural that symbolism has found a new home. American animation, in this regard, falls largely behind its Japanese counterpart, with possible exception being granted to a few of the more sophisticated works coming out of this country. The prime difference, however, is in demographic. With very few cartoons being targeted at an audience older than twelve, any amount of depth actually attempted by animation is lost upon the key demographic.
[...] This second chance offered by the protection of his mother is used to its fullest, and the ending bears witness to that. To qualify my claims on Oedipal imagery, I will take a look at the case of the two biological pilots of the EVAs. Shinji's character is often seen whining for his mother. The number of instances of that alone could warrant a Freudian link, but his character demands further scrutiny. His hatred for his father runs deep, and never once throughout the show is there a pleasant interchange between them. [...]
[...] The suit (as evidenced later in the series) has the capability of absorbing its pilot, should it run berserk. Each pilot, while within the giant robotic armor, is in a small plug, filled with a fluid referred to as LCL, which provides both oxygen and nutrients to sustain the pilot. The resemblance to an unborn child floating in the mother's amniotic fluid is unmistakable. During the end of the series, EVA-02 is attacked while it sits defenseless, unable to start failure on the part of the pilot). [...]
[...] The common banner, under which this entire show runs, is best embodied in a single phrase: the will to live, and this paper is an attempt to validate that, as well as that theme's existence within the smaller context of its imagery. As previously mentioned, Neon Genesis Evangelion (henceforth referred to as Eva, sans capitalization to denote the television show, and not the eponymous robot), ran between 1995 and 1996. An attempt to deconstruct a seven year project of 26 episodes into several paragraphs of relative brevity is nearly impossible. [...]
[...] It is embodied best in the spirit of Ikari Yui, and even though she died, her spirit (literally) lives on within EVA-01, which guides Shinji through his travails. That hope is underlined with the strong wills of Shinji and Asuka: the will to live. It is what drives the characters to fight as they do, and it is what makes me believe that the ending is a positive one. Works Consulted Anno, Hideaki. Collected Evangelion Manga, Vol Viz Comics *Note: Anno's comments were [...]
[...] Its virtue is silence, which can be best exemplified by Shinji's lack of meaningful conversation after finding this out. Chokhmah (wisdom) is paired with devotion. Shinji exhibits this in his interactions with another pilot, Kaworu (who turns out to be the 17th Angel), and his devotion is shown when the truth comes out and Shinji is forced to kill him. The final Sephirah, Keter (crown), has “completion of the great work” as its virtue. The ending of the series would work perfectly here. [...]
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